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France hopes to snap up finance trade from London after a Brexit

Paris hopes to take business from the city of London after a Brexit Credit: PA

France has been talking tough on Brexit - and it's not just for political reasons.

The country hopes that it may yet overtake the UK to become the world's fifth largest economy - and it has its eyes firmly on the lucrative financial sector.

Video report by ITV News economics editor Noreena Hertz.

Paris hopes that the introduction of new tariffs and red tape on Britain after it leaves the EU would allow it to take away business from the city of London.

It could be a huge boost to the city - and to government coffers.

£67 bn
Tax revenue generated from the UK financial sector in 2014/15
11%
Percentage of UK tax receipts generated by finance

Financial services are among the UK's most important products.

Global investment banks employ 70,000 people in London alone - and the sector generates billions in tax each year.

The French government would love to see business move from the City of London to Paris for two reasons.

Firstly, they would just like to welcome the business, they would like to see their own financial centres growing.

Secondly, they want the British to pay a price for leaving the EU.

– Charles Grant, Centre for European Reform
French wine sales to the UK would be hit by new tariffs Credit: Reuters

However, a harsh new international tax regimen is not a straightforward win for France.

They could lose out on wine and spirits sales to Britain - their second biggest export market.

£1.4 bn
Annual value of wine and spirits exports from France to the UK

New tariffs and red tape could cut into profits of this most Gallic market and potentially slash sales as bottles from the new world become more competitive in terms of price.

The question for France will then be - should they gamble by pushing for tough new international tariffs in the hope they will gain more than they lose?

Mr Hollande must also be wary of being seen to favour one sector or another.

After all, what is good for the banker will not be good for the wine-maker.